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GFCI receptacles in kitchen

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  • Nov 11th, 2018 9:49 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Oct 10, 2018
9 posts

GFCI receptacles in kitchen

Hi,
I am trying to replace my kitchen old outlets ( non-GFCI) to a new GFCIs. The instructions there shows only the case of regular one hot+neutral+ground wiring.
In my case, my kitchen wiring has 2 hot wires, black & red + neutral + ground.
If I am connecting my GFCI outlets as my old regular one, its shorts the breaker, probably because in this GFCI receptacle both hot connections are shorted.
Is there any way to connect the new outlets or I should cut the shortage between the hot connections.
13 replies
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
1993 posts
620 upvotes
Mississauga
Sounds like you need a pro if you really tried to replace a 15A split receptacle with a 20A GFCI receptacle without upgrading the wiring. Using a 15A GFCI does not meet code in the Kitchen.

If you plan not to rewire then you should be going with a split receptacle+GFCI breaker.
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2017
991 posts
329 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
Not that I am a pro but I'm not aware of a GFCI outlet that has the top and bottom sockets wired for different live wires as you'd need.
Almost too cheap to shop through RFD
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 21, 2003
2285 posts
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Stoney Creek, ON
bubuski wrote:
Nov 10th, 2018 6:32 pm
Sounds like you need a pro if you really tried to replace a 15A split receptacle with a 20A GFCI receptacle without upgrading the wiring. Using a 15A GFCI does not meet code in the Kitchen.

If you plan not to rewire then you should be going with a split receptacle+GFCI breaker.
This is bang on. It is clear you never should have been doing this job to begin with. You need to call an electrician in to install the GFI breakers for you. It will be costly as a 2 pole GFI breaker is expensive but that is the only route to go to do it properly short of replacing your lines with 12/2.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Sep 25, 2003
198 posts
30 upvotes
Scarborough
Please have a look at this notice from ESA:

https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/es ... -02-FL.pdf

You need a GFCI for each separate line of your 3 wire circuit.

If that circuit is feeding only one split receptacle you will need to replace with two GFCI (15A) receptacles: one for each line of your 3-wire cable.

The hot (black or red) will need to connect to the screw labeled LINE on the GFCI receptacle.

With Your current split receptacle the red wire supplies the hot for one outlet and the black supplies the hot for the other outlet. You can only supply one hot line to a standard GFCI outlet and the hot line can only attach to the line screw.
Deal Addict
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Jun 21, 2003
2285 posts
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Stoney Creek, ON
zhewie wrote:
Nov 10th, 2018 9:58 pm
Please have a look at this notice from ESA:

https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/es ... -02-FL.pdf

You need a GFCI for each separate line of your 3 wire circuit.

If that circuit is feeding only one split receptacle you will need to replace with two GFCI (15A) receptacles: one for each line of your 3-wire cable.

The hot (black or red) will need to connect to the screw labeled LINE on the GFCI receptacle.

With Your current split receptacle the red wire supplies the hot for one outlet and the black supplies the hot for the other outlet. You can only supply one hot line to a standard GFCI outlet and the hot line can only attach to the line screw.
Based on the OP's post I feel that encouraging him to do these things himself is a bad idea. What was attempted in the first place makes it very clear they do not have a safe understanding of electrical at all.
Fraser River Rat wrote:
Nov 10th, 2018 10:35 pm
Hi,

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Electrical- ... 16Z1z0mh9u
As a workaround, could he replace the circuit breakers in the power distributin box with gfci breakers?
https://www.hunker.com/13414173/how-to- ... it-breaker
As stated this is exactly what the OP needs to have done for them to do it properly. A 2 pole GFI breaker is required.
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2011
2635 posts
785 upvotes
Your kitchen was clearly built to code as it has 15 A split duplex receptacles. There is no need to install GFCI receptacles. Simply avoid plugging in the toaster while you have one hand in the sink.
"The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."
Just a guy who dabbles in lots of stuff learning along the way. I do have opinions, and readily share them!
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
1993 posts
620 upvotes
Mississauga
zhewie wrote:
Nov 10th, 2018 9:58 pm
Please have a look at this notice from ESA:

https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/es ... -02-FL.pdf

You need a GFCI for each separate line of your 3 wire circuit.

If that circuit is feeding only one split receptacle you will need to replace with two GFCI (15A) receptacles: one for each line of your 3-wire cable.

The hot (black or red) will need to connect to the screw labeled LINE on the GFCI receptacle.

With Your current split receptacle the red wire supplies the hot for one outlet and the black supplies the hot for the other outlet. You can only supply one hot line to a standard GFCI outlet and the hot line can only attach to the line screw.
I learnt something new. Didn’t know the ESA now allows this upgrade option.
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2017
991 posts
329 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
fieldhousehandyman wrote:
Nov 10th, 2018 10:47 pm
Your kitchen was clearly built to code as it has 15 A split duplex receptacles. There is no need to install GFCI receptacles.
This seems to have been code until quite recently (though 20A sockets started to appear ~6 years ago).
Almost too cheap to shop through RFD
Sr. Member
Apr 6, 2008
632 posts
264 upvotes
thriftshopper wrote:
Nov 11th, 2018 11:59 am
This seems to have been code until quite recently (though 20A sockets started to appear ~6 years ago).
It's still acceptable to install split 15A kitchen plugs, it's just cheaper and easier to install 20A. Also, requirements such as GFCI and arc-fault are harder to get with the split circuits.
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2011
2635 posts
785 upvotes
There are two issues at play with kitchen outlets, the first being potential overloading of circuits, followed by GFCI protection of outlets located near a sink or other such water vessel.

Original code was 15 Amp split duplex receptacles that were required to 'leapfrog' along the counter, in order to prevent nuisance tripping when one had a toaster and kettle going at the same time for example. Outlet A was served by circuit 1 and 2, outlet B by circuits 3 and 4, and outlet C by circuits 1 and 2, and so on.

Enter the GFCI, which due to the nature of it's design, could not be used as a 'split' served by two circuits. So the Electrical code in Canada went the way of the states (at least a decade ago, or longer) requiring 20 amp service and GFCI protection where the outlets were within a certain distance from the sink. It became common to run two circuits to all kitchen counter outlets, alternating them along the counter, all having GFCI protection. Following this method will provide GFCI protection, but you have to plug your high wattage devices into separate outlets, and be sure not to run them at the same time.

Of course, the new 20 amp GFCI requirements were for new construction and complete renovations, but where does that leave the OP and many others, who for some reason wanted GFCI protection, but had 15 Amp splits installed on their counter. Enter the ESA directive linked to in Zhewie's post, which is a workaround (albeit not actually code compliant). It provides GFCI protection, but does not address the issue of overloading circuits.

In any event, the ESA does not require retroactive upgrades to kitchens with 15 amp splits, so in my view, why bother.
"The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."
Just a guy who dabbles in lots of stuff learning along the way. I do have opinions, and readily share them!
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2017
991 posts
329 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
fusion2k2k wrote:
Nov 11th, 2018 12:11 pm
It's still acceptable to install split 15A kitchen plugs, it's just cheaper and easier to install 20A. Also, requirements such as GFCI and arc-fault are harder to get with the split circuits.
I've never worked on a house with split plugs though I heard they were a requirement from a handyman I was working with. Probably due to the age of the house (they were built in 1911 and 1908) and prevailing code when renovated or kitchen installed (if permitted at all which a lot of older houses in Vancouver were not). The first (and I think only) time I noticed 20A in a kitchen was in a new-built laneway house (c. 2013 build). I guess most of the dwellings I've stayed in were previous century build so can't tell if there were split plugs, or remember if they were GFCIs hooked up to downstream (dependent?) plugs. My current house is 2004-completed and only has 15A outlets. Haven't looked to see if plugs are split or not.

I imagine there is a physical limitation in being able to (economically) put a double/split GFCI in a standard dual socket unit. Same with the circuit breaker GFCI n a slim line/double/tandem format?
Almost too cheap to shop through RFD
Sr. Member
Apr 6, 2008
632 posts
264 upvotes
thriftshopper wrote:
Nov 11th, 2018 5:36 pm
I've never worked on a house with split plugs though I heard they were a requirement from a handyman I was working with. Probably due to the age of the house (they were built in 1911 and 1908) and prevailing code when renovated or kitchen installed (if permitted at all which a lot of older houses in Vancouver were not). The first (and I think only) time I noticed 20A in a kitchen was in a new-built laneway house (c. 2013 build). I guess most of the dwellings I've stayed in were previous century build so can't tell if there were split plugs, or remember if they were GFCIs hooked up to downstream (dependent?) plugs. My current house is 2004-completed and only has 15A outlets. Haven't looked to see if plugs are split or not.

I imagine there is a physical limitation in being able to (economically) put a double/split GFCI in a standard dual socket unit. Same with the circuit breaker GFCI n a slim line/double/tandem format?
They will be split if the house was built in 2004. I would say the splits came in probably late 50s early 60s. There was a housing boom due to the baby boomers and subdivisions/mass produced houses became more common.

To have a dual GFI, you would need to take a single gang box and open it up into a double, cut drywall etc. It can be done but it's a bit of work.

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